Government House warns Scott Free bridge could fail under load


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ST. THOMAS - People keep removing the sign limiting large vehicles at the Scott Free bridge, creating a dangerous situation for unsuspecting motorists.

The sign is posted on a bright orange Jersey barrier, which limits access to the road.

The bridge is a narrow and deteriorating road connecting Estate Scott Free to the Upper John Dunkoe area. Almost two months ago, Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls announced the partial closing of the bridge.

"We announced the bridge as being seriously deficient and in dire need of replacement as per recent Bridge Inspection Report," Government House spokesman Jean Greaux Jr. said in a news release.

Two Jersey barriers were strategically placed 9 feet apart and a 4 ton weight limit sign was attached to one of the barriers at the entrance to the bridge to prohibit large trucks or heavy equipment from entry.

According to Public Works, the road is only safe for smaller vehicles.

Public Works has been monitoring the bridge on a weekly basis, according to Government House.

"It has been observed that the barriers are being tampered with and moved regularly by unknown and unauthorized individuals. It is critical that these barriers remain in place and that residents obey all posted restrictions. Failure to do so could result in the total failure and collapse of the bridge," Greaux said in the release.

Government House officials asked the public to leave the sign and barriers alone for the public's safety.

"We do recognize that the bridge is the only access for the residents that live in this area and the Department is expediting the process to provide a temporary access as soon as possible in order to close the bridge immediately," Greaux said.

The government is planning to build a temporary access road later this month. Once construction begins, the road should be done within 30 days, according to the release.

Once the road is complete, the bridge will be closed and demolished.

A permanent road will be built as part of phase I of the Scott Free Road project. The new road should be complete by the end of the year, according to Government House.

For more information contact Wystan Benjamin, highway program manager, Office of Highway Engineering at 776-4844.

- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email alewin@dailynews.vi.

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